Marion hunters kill 12-foot gator on Waccamaw River

Waccamaw River

Waccamaw River gator weighed almost 500 pounds

Jeffrey Bullard and I are both from Marion, SC and we’ve been scouting gators for years. In order to hunt them, first you have to win the lottery to get a tag. Only 1000 tags are given out each year, divided into four hunting zones. Our zone is the Pee Dee. Gator season starts the second Saturday in September and runs to the second Saturday in October every year. This year we got a tag.

We started our journey on Day One of the season with no luck. We saw a nice one while out in a kayak, but couldn’t seal the deal. We’ve both been doing this for years. So we put a lot of work into scouting, and into knowing where several big gators are.

On Oct. 10, 2023, we got a massive swamp dragon. We caught him sliding off the bank. I made my first toss to him with my Mad Katz rod, and then snagged him with a big treble hook on the third cast. Then Jeffrey was able to get a larger Lizardman Gator Quad hook into him. The fight was on then. This beast took us for a ride up and back down the Waccamaw River. We ended the battle about 30 minutes later. The swamp dragon was 12 feet long and weighed almost 500 pounds.

–John Wayne Caulder

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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